Tail docking is now banned in all states of Australia.  The legislation came into effect at different times for different states, but by the beginning of 2003, it was banned in all states. It may still be carried out by a veterinary surgeon for "therapeutic and prophylactic reasons", but few vets are prepared to do it.  Breeders are totally banned from docking.
Fines are up to $15,000, although we are not aware of any prosecutions to date.

Potted history below:

Australian Veterinary Association

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)
PO Box 371 Artarmon NSW 2064 Australia
(02) 9411 2733 (p), (02) 9411 5089 (f), avahq@ava.com.au (email).

Released: April 10, 1995

AVA calls for an end to cosmetic tail docking

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has reaffirmed its call for a ban on cosmetic tail docking of dogs. The call coincides with the showing of "docked" dogs at the Royal Easter Show.

AVA animal welfare consultant Dr Lyndy Scott said the mutilation of animals for cosmetic (non-veterinary) purposes was strongly opposed by the majority of the veterinary profession.

"Accordingly, the AVA calls on state and federal authorities to ban cosmetic docking," she said. "We would also urge all kennel control councils throughout Australia to phase tail docking requirements out of relevant breed standards."

A letter reaffirming this stance was sent by the AVA's NSW Division to the then-NSW Minister for Agriculture Ian Armstrong earlier this year.

Dr Scott said many vets see tail docking as a mutilation of puppies which should not be permitted in an enlightened society and similarly should be banned by legislation.

She said cosmetic docking was unnecessary and painful for the puppy and could lead to complications, anatomical and behavioural. "Pro-dockers try to defend the practice by pointing to a lack of clear scientific evidence that docking hurts the animal. What they fail to address is the essential issue - why do it all? All breeds can enter dog shows with their full tails - it is not necessary that they be docked.

"I would urge the public, government and the kennel clubs to get behind the AVA and phase out the practice as soon as possible," she said.

-ends -

The original can be found on the AVA site


Australian Minister Allows "Lay" Tail Docking

The NSW Minister for Agriculture Mr Amery, has refused to ban the docking of tails from puppies under the age of five days old, ignoring pleas from vets in his own department and of course the Australian RSPCA who claimed that the practice causes severe pain in young dogs.

Under amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty Act passed by Government in June 97, docking can only be performed under anaesthetic by vets five days after birth. But for puppies under five days old, there is now no legal involvement of vets required at all. The procedure in New South Wales can be carried out by anyone.

The head of the RSPCA Mr Charles Wright, accused the Government of bowing to the pressure from dog breeders who he claimed did not want to be "lumbered with the extra cost of humane amputation"

Campaign to retain tail docking has begun

November 2000 - First Australian State bans docking

Visit this page to read all about it

July 2002 - Multi State organisation formed to safeguard tail docking

Dogbody.com was formed with the aim to preserve and protect the right to own and breed all Purebred dogs and to preserve the right to perform traditional animal husbandry practices (including tail docking.) but has since shut down.

Visit this page to read all about it